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The magic of the club scene is back

By Declan Bogue

This Sunday, all eyes will be on Kerry and Dublin in Croke Park.

The irresistible rivalry has no peers when it comes to a glamour fixture in the GAA.

RTÉ and Sky will be giving it the full works and to be in Croke Park full house on Sunday is to feel at the very centre of the GAA universe.

That is, unless you are from Dunloy, St John's, Ballycastle or O'Donovan Rossa. Those four will be finishing up their Antrim Hurling Championship games just as Kieran Donaghy and Michael Darragh Macauley prepare to take the first skelp out of each other in north inner-city Dublin.

In a few weeks, the massive power generated by the inter-county game will begin the wind down. The end of September leaves a trace of post Championship hangover. For me, it is the few weeks after that when the GAA really comes into its own.

Although it has lost most of its meaning by being woven into the speeches of many a GAA administrator's spiel of platitude, there is nothing like getting down to the grassroots again after fattening on the inter-county calf.

Last Thursday, I took myself off to watch a Tyrone Junior Championship match, hosted on a most incredible surface beside a neat little stand in the Garvaghey complex, between Beragh Red Knights and Castlederg St Eugene's.

At times it appeared that Marty Rodgers was going to propel Beragh to victory with his sheer class and kicking skills (you can find one of his outrageous frees if you look up @PGthePT on Twitter, with myself providing the commentary).

But Castlederg produced a serious effort full of character to force the game to extra-time, and then seal it with an absolutely brilliant goal.

All over Ulster, club will be where it is at this weekend.

Long may that continue - and long may we not take it for granted.

Belfast Telegraph

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